Please follow me and you will hear the up and downs of my energy patterns through the year and how I have learnt to thrive, no matter the weather, no matter the light! You will find all my previous entries on my ‘Lightwatcher Diary’ page.
If you understand your state, then you can understand your needs. If you understand your needs, then you can fully live your life.
What does it feel like to have an untreated phoria?
Basically you are looking at something but your eye gaze is somewhere else.
In reading, your child’s eye gaze could be between the words rather than on the words. it could be between the lines or at the top or bottom of the words.
In maths this is even more pronounced because we tend to work with lots of small symbols in a big space. At least with writing, the lines lead your eyes to try to focus into the correct place. But with no visual guide in maths, your gaze could be anywhere on the page. Your child’s gaze might well not be on the number, symbol, line or shape that they want to look at.
Misdirected eye-gaze left untreated causes exhaustion, frustration and low self esteem.
If you suspect your child has issues with eye gaze why not try the Reading Test with them.
Today I really wanted to work with a document on my computer where I am working with a lot of detail. It is a chart so I am also working with a grid. When I first got up and started this work, I felt great because I had the right pair of glasses on to treat a phoria. My phoria was RIGHT OUT and LEFT DOWN and OUT. So I was wearing prisms to bring my eyes to the correct position on the horizontal and vertical plane.
Then the day became brighter – just subtly- and I felt something change in myself. I could feel that I was starting to develop eyestrain and that this was causing me to tighten up in my jaw, shoulders and chest. I knew this was going to have a knock on effect on my breathing and my digestive system. Sure enough when I looked at the writing I was working on, my focus had changed. Whereas initially, I was focusing exactly on the words , now my eyes were going slightly above the words.
So I knew that my phoria must have changed. Now my eyes were RIGHT IN and LEFT OUT UP. And so I needed a different pair of glasses., which I don’t possess yet.
I can see a day of poor focus looming. It is a pity because everything is pretty clear. It is just that my eye are not looking where I intend them to look! And that is absolutely exhausting. I will have to have a big picture day and not a detail day for sure!
Why not have a go at the Reading Testand see where your eyes are looking today.
When I have this phoria, my eyes are both essentially looking up and to the left. I feel as if I just don’t want to speak because nothing really makes sense. I can have a conversation but I won’t be able to join up the dots. And the more fixed someone is on something they believe, the more angry I am. I can’t focus on anything – not even what I believe – so why should someone else have a voice?
Feeling like this is terrible. I feel like a terrible person but I know I am not really. This is just how the phoria is making me feel.
What Can I Do About it?
I need a pair of glasses with prism to redirect my gaze.
The prisms I need are Right eye – Prisms O.5 OUT, O.25 DOWN and Left Eye Prisms O.5 IN and O.25 DOWN. I make useful acronyms and I call these my RODLID glasses. And I have ordered them. I look forward to wearing them when this phoria dares to turn up next time!
Phorias and strabismus are both eye turns. They give you the feeling of having misdirected gaze. However strabismus can usually be detected by the human eye and although it might be intermittent, it will likely recur in the same direction to the same strength. A person will be said to have a right eye turn or a an up eye turn. The treatment is to align the eyes to attain binocular vision. This can be achieved with prism, or helped through vision therapy or behavioural optometry.
Phorias are more complex. A phoria is an eye turn or misdirected eye in any of the 8 compass points. And both eyes could have the same pattern, a different pattern or only one eye could be affected. When you add 8 to the possibility of having 0 phoria in one eye you get what is officially called the 9 cardinal points of gaze. When you do the maths and work out how many permutations there are for two eyes with nine points of gaze, you get to the number 81! Yes, there are 81 permutations of phoria. As an example of someone with phorias that disturb me, I have found that I have 18 permutations. So I have glasses made with small amounts of prism in one or two directions to treat all of these. It does make life more complicated but I get used to reading the light, knowing my needs, and it is worth it!
Working with my phorias (eye gaze and muscle imbalance) I require lot of pairs of glasses. This is because my phorias move around a lot. I can test myself with the maddox rod test to find out where my phorias are and then choose the glasses to treat that phoria. Sometimes the glasses are on point and sometimes they are not quite on point but they will do. Sometimes I am surprised by which glasses help me. They don’t seem to quite match the test results. Sometimes one eye partially suppresses to allow my other eye to take up the reigns for a while. This could be better than the experience of both eyes fighting.
What I learnt is that my lenses are just bits of plastic with prism in that can help me. I play around with them like someone trying on shoes or hats. I enjoy them – my trial prism lenses are very precious to me! Some I have from a set of trial lenses and some I just popped out of a pair of cheap glasses that I bought with just prism in. So far it has been impossible to buy 0.25 diopter prism trial lenses so I had to do the popping out thing for these. I also sometimes combine glasses – wear one pair and fold the arm back on another to use the lens as an extra one. I work with any resources I can find to learn about my eyes and establish a relationship with them and my experience of the changing light.
Working with prisms is not an exact science. My husband who is no-where near me on the scale of sensitivity was trying out some prisms to find the up and down rotation. He found that for prism diopter 3 – 5 he was actually experiencing the prism upside down. The image was moving in the direction he didn’t expect. We didn’t have any answers for that. That was a mystery. In the same way prisms are doing mysterious things for me every day. I don’t fully understand how my brain relates to prism but it definitely likes it!
Prisms lenses – just bits of plastic that might help you!
Feel as if my eye is being pulled or stretched (this being even more extreme outside sometimes?)
Have extreme light sensitivity
Lack co-ordination for no apparent reason?
Struggle to walk in a straight line?
Feel as if my eyes are fighting with each other?
Struggle to focus on something because I am distracted by the background (subject and background both demanding the same attention?)
Have cognitive processing difficulties and feel easily overloaded by information?
Feel as if mentally I am going round and round in circles?
Feel that my eyes can never rest, even at night?
If you answer yes to some or all of these questions, then you could be sensitive to your phorias (direction of gaze). You may be aware of small muscle imbalances that occur when you change direction of your gaze. This could occur as a result of being stressed or tired but with more sensitive people, it can be triggered simply by changes in the ambient light. These imbalances, though subtle can have a massive impact on your quality of life.
A phoria is a latent (hidden) eye deviation. The eyes appear to be straight, but when covering an eye and breaking fusion, the eyes assume a position away from normal alignment. Most people have a very small phoria if tested, but a large phoria makes it hard to keep the eyes aligned. This could occur as a result of being stressed, tired and it can be triggered by changes in the light.
If a large amount of phoria exists, your eyes are will not rest on the subject you are focusing on. Your gaze will move elsewhere. Keeping both eyes fixated on your chosen subject requires an effort by you.
However, a sensitive person can be affected by a small phoria. People not sensitive may be able to ignore any small amounts of distortion but sensitive people can’t. Any lack of congruency, any deviation from the whole is a problem for the sensitive person.
I Have Four of Them!
UP OUT (uncorrected) – makes me feel like the right side of my head is fuzzy and it affects the nerves in my shoulders and arms. I feel pulled away from what I am trying to think about.
OUT (uncorrected) – makes me feel that I can’t think clearly at all. I don’t want to think about anything outside of my immediate experience. Everything feels too much.
IN (uncorrected) – makes me feel trapped like I can’t see out. I feel like I can’t move. I am inflexible.
IN OUT (uncorrected) makes me feel low hearted and negative. My body aches especially the muscles in my legs, and my knees feel suddenly weak.
All I Need is Prisms
How simple can that be? Fixing these problems with just a pair of glasses? But it works. All you need is a prism sending your gaze back in the direction you intended it to be in. Phorias could play a part in depression, anxiety, fatigue, dyspraxia, ADHD and more . . .
If you would like help looking to see if you or your child have a hidden phoria, please get in touch below. One simple appointment, one pair of glasses and you could feel like you have your life back, or you could know what life is for the first time!